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Updated: 12 hours 55 min ago

Cloud Boom Drives Sales Boom For Physical Servers

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 10:28am
jfruh writes: The promise of the cloud is that your storage and computing problems will be abstracted away from messy physical objects that you need to maintain, taken care of far way by other people. Well, it turns out that those other people need to buy a lot of servers.

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Urges America To Challenge China To a Space Race

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 9:43am
An anonymous reader writes: According to a Tuesday story in the UK edition of the International Business Times, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist and media personality, advocates a space race between the United States and China. The idea is that such a race would spur innovation and cause industry to grow. The Apollo race to the moon caused a similar explosive period of scientific research and engineering development. You might prefer the Sydney Morning Herald piece on which the IB Times article is based.

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Black Hole Plays Pool With Plasma

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 8:57am
the monolith writes: The Hubble Space Telescope is revealing that there is a pool game in progress, with a long shot being played out on a cosmic scale. It appears that the first recorded shot was observed in 1992, while subsequent canon shots were recorded between 1994 an 2014. In actuality, the shots are plasma, the current player is a black hole, and the playing surface is galactic space itself. The BBC has a story on the observations and interpretations, while the journal Nature has the paywalled in-depth article. The current score is unknown, and one can only hope that there were no life forms involved in the collision.

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How a Scientist Fooled Millions With Bizarre Chocolate Diet Claims

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 8:11am
__roo writes: Did you know chocolate helps you lose weight? You can read all about this great news for chocoholics in the Daily Star, Daily Express, Irish Examiner, and TV shows in Texas and Australia, and even the front page of Bild, Europe's largest daily newspaper. The problem is that it's not true. A researcher who previously worked with Science to do a sting operation on fee-charging open access journals ran a real—but obviously flawed—study rigged to generate false positives, paid €600 to get it published in a fee-charging open access journal, set up a website for a fake institute, and issued press releases to feed the ever-hungry pool of nutrition journalists. The doctor who ran the trial had the idea to use chocolate, because it's a favorite of the "whole food" fanatics. "Bitter chocolate tastes bad, therefore it must be good for you. It's like a religion."

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A Tool For Analyzing H-1B Visa Applications Reveals Tech Salary Secrets

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:28am
Tekla Perry writes: The golden age of engineers is not over,' says a French software engineer who developed a tool for mining U.S. Department of Labor visa application data, but, he says, salaries appear to be leveling off. Indeed, salary inflation for software engineers and other technical professionals at Google and Facebook has slowed dramatically, according to his database, and Airbnb and Dropbox pay is down a little, though Netflix pay is through the roof. The data also shows that some large companies appear to be playing games with titles to deflate salaries, and Microsoft is finally offering technology professionals comparable salaries to Apple and Google. There's a lot more to be discovered in this interactive database, and researchers are getting ready to mine it.

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How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 6:47am
CIStud writes with a story at CEPro suggesting that solar power and home batteries like Tesla's PowerWall "will force the reinvention of home wiring from primarily AC high voltage to DC home-run low voltage to reduce power conversion loss," writing "To avoid the 20% to 40% power loss when converting from DC to AC, home wiring will have to convert to home-run low-voltage, and eventually eliminate the need for high-voltage 110V electrical wiring." As a former full-time Airstream dweller, I can attest to the importance of DC appliances when dealing with batteries.

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New Technique To Develop Single-Molecule Diode

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 5:51am
William Robinson writes: Under the direction of Latha Venkataraman, associate professor of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, researchers have designed a new technique to create a single-molecule diode, that has rectification ratio as high as 250, and 'ON' current as high as 0.1 microamps. The idea of creating a single-molecule diode was suggested by Arieh Aviram and Mark Ratner who theorized in 1974, which has been the 'holy grail' of molecular electronics ever since its inception to achieve further miniaturization, because single molecule represent the limit of miniaturization.

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US Justice Department Urges Supreme Court Not To Take Up Google v. Oracle

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 5:00am
New submitter Areyoukiddingme writes: The Solicitor General of the Justice Department has filed a response to the US Supreme Court's solicitation of advice regarding the Google vs. Oracle ruling and subsequent overturning by the Federal Circuit. The response recommends that the Federal Circuit ruling stand, allowing Oracle to retain copyright to the Java API.

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The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 4:13am
HughPickens.com writes: Farhad Manjoo writes in the NYT that with over one billion devices sold in 2014 Android is the most popular operating system in the world by far, but that doesn't mean it's a financial success for Google. Apple vacuumed up nearly 90 percent of the profits in the smartphone business which prompts a troubling question for Android and for Google: How will the search company — or anyone else, for that matter — ever make much money from Android. First the good news: The fact that Google does not charge for Android, and that few phone manufacturers are extracting much of a profit from Android devices, means that much of the globe now enjoys decent smartphones and online services for low prices. But while Google makes most of its revenue from advertising, Android has so far been an ad dud compared with Apple's iOS, whose users tend to have more money and spend a lot more time on their phones (and are, thus, more valuable to advertisers). Because Google pays billions to Apple to make its search engine the default search provider for iOS devices, the company collects much more from ads placed on Apple devices than from ads on Android devices. The final threat for Google's Android may be the most pernicious: What if a significant number of the people who adopted Android as their first smartphone move on to something else as they become power users? In Apple's last two earnings calls, Tim Cook reported that the "majority" of those who switched to iPhone had owned a smartphone running Android. Apple has not specified the rate of switching, but a survey found that 16 percent of people who bought the latest iPhones previously owned Android devices; in China, that rate was 29 percent. For Google, this may not be terrible news in the short run. If Google already makes more from ads on iOS than Android, growth in iOS might actually be good for Google's bottom line. Still, in the long run, the rise of Android switching sets up a terrible path for Google — losing the high-end of the smartphone market to the iPhone, while the low end is under greater threat from noncooperative Android players like Cyanogen which has a chance to snag as many as 1 billion handsets. Android has always been a tricky strategy concludes Manjoo; now, after finding huge success, it seems only to be getting even trickier.

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Ways To Travel Faster Than Light Without Violating Relativity

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 3:30am
StartsWithABang writes: It's one of the cardinal laws of physics and the underlying principle of Einstein's relativity itself: the fact that there's a universal speed limit to the motion of anything through space and time, the speed of light, or c. Light itself will always move at this speed (as well as certain other phenomena, like the force of gravity), while anything with mass — like all known particles of matter and antimatter — will always move slower than that. But if you want something to travel faster-than-light, you aren't, as you might think, relegated to the realm of science fiction. There are real, physical phenomena that do exactly this, and yet are perfectly consistent with relativity.

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Gene Testing Often Gets It Wrong

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 1:28am
BarbaraHudson writes: ABC is reporting that gene tests for risk of specific diseases are not as accurate as we'd like to think, with different labs giving different interpretations. Over 400 gene variants that could help one make medical decisions regarding breast and ovarian cancer or heart disease have different interpretations from different labs according to the study. "The magnitude of this problem is bigger than most people thought," said Michael Watson, executive director of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, one of the study's authors. Researchers caution consumers to be careful when choosing where to have a gene test done and acting on the results.

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High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block EBook Sites

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 11:03pm
An anonymous reader writes: The UK High Court has ordered British ISPs to block seven websites that help users find unauthorized copies of eBooks. Under the order, BT, Virgin, Sky, EE and TalkTalk must block AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre, Ebookee, Freebookspot, Freshwap and LibGen within the next ten days. “We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognizes the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites,” says Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association. “A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.”

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Scientists Reverse Aging In Human Cell Lines

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 8:28pm
Eloking writes: Professor Jun-Ichi Hayashi from the University of Tsukuba in Japan has discovered the regulation of two genes involved with the production of glycine are partly responsible for some of the characteristics of aging. With this finding he has been able to "flip the switches on a few genes back to their youthful position, effectively reversing the aging process." The Professor's findings cast doubt on the mitochondrial theory of aging, which proposes that the accumulation of mutations in the mitochondrial DNA are responsible for aging.

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Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 6:03pm
hypnosec writes: Scientists say the ozone layer is in good shape thanks to the Montreal Protocol, which has helped us avoid severe ozone depletion. Research suggests that the Antarctic ozone hole would have been 40% bigger by now if not for the international treaty. "Our research confirms the importance of the Montreal Protocol and shows that we have already had real benefits. We knew that it would save us from large ozone loss 'in the future', but in fact we are already past the point when things would have become noticeably worse," lead author Professor Martyn Chipperfield, from the School of Earth & Environment at the University of Leeds, said in a press release.

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Computer Chips Made of Wood Promise Greener Electronics

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 4:25pm
alphadogg writes: Researchers in the U.S. and China have developed semiconductor chips that are almost entirely made out of a wood-derived material. In addition to being biodegradable, the cost of production is much less than conventional semiconductors. According to the NetworkWorld report: "The researchers used a cellulose material for the substrate of the chip, which is the part that supports the active semiconductor layer. Taken from cellulose, a naturally abundant substance used to make paper, cellulose nanofibril (CNF) is a flexible, transparent and sturdy material with suitable electrical properties. That makes CNF better than alternative chip designs using natural materials such as paper and silk, they argue in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications."

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Red Hat CEO Publishes Open Source Management Memoir

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 8:35am
ectoman writes: Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has just published The Open Organization, a book that chronicles his tenure as leader of the world's largest open source company. The book aims to show other business leaders how open source principles like transparency, authenticity, access, and openness can enhance their organizations. It's also filled with information about daily life inside Red Hat. Whitehurst joined Red Hat in 2008 after leaving Delta Airlines, and he says his time working in open source has changed him. "I thought I knew what it took to manage people and get work done," he writes in The Open Organization. "But the techniques I had learned, the traditional beliefs I held for management and how people are taught to run companies and lead organizations, were to be challenged when I entered the world of Red Hat and open source." All proceeds from the book benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Opensource.com is hosting free book club materials.

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Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:54am
mi writes: President Obama has asked the Senate to renew key Patriot Act provisions before their expiration on May 31. This includes surveillance powers that let the government collect Americans' phone records. Obama said, "It's necessary to keep the American people safe and secure." The call came despite recent revelations that the FBI is unable to name a single terror case in which the snooping provisions were of much help. "Obama noted that the controversial bulk phone collections program, which was exposed by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, is reformed in the House bill, which does away with it over six months and instead gives phone companies the responsibility of maintaining phone records that the government can search." Obama criticized the Senate for not acting on that legislation, saying they have necessitated a renewal of the Patriot Act provisions.

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Heat Wave Kills More Than 1,100 In India

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:12am
An anonymous reader sends word that a week-long heat wave in India has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,100 people. Temperatures reached 47C (117F) on Monday and are expected to stay dangerously high throughout the week. The heat and extreme dryness are being accompanied by strong westerly winds. "About one-third of the country's 1.2 billion people have access to electricity, meaning millions are enduring the blistering heat without relief." The local power grid has been struggling under high demand from fans and air conditioning. In some states, citizens are being advised to stay indoors during the middle of the day, when the sun is at its peak. Many hope the upcoming monsoons will return temperatues to less dangerous levels.

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Clinton Foundation: Kids' Lack of CS Savvy Threatens the US Economy

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 6:30am
theodp writes: As the press digs for details on Clinton Foundation donations, including a reported $26+ million from Microsoft and Bill Gates, it's probably worth noting the interest the Clintons have developed in computer science and the role they have played — and continue to play — in the national K-12 CS and tech immigration crisis that materialized after Microsoft proposed creating such a crisis to advance its 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy, which aims to increase K-12 CS education and the number of H-1B visas. Next thing you know, Bill is the face of CS at the launch of Code.org. Then Hillary uses the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference to launch a Facebook, Microsoft, and Google initiative to boost the ranks of female and students of color in CS, and starts decrying woeful CS enrollment. Not to be left out, Chelsea keynotes the NCWIT Summit and launches Google's $50M girls-only Made With Code initiative with now-U.S. CTO Megan Smith. And last December, the Clinton Foundation touted its initiatives to engage middle school girls in CS, revamp the nation's AP CS program, and retrain out-of-work Americans as coders. At next month's CGI America 2015, the conference will kick off with a Beer Bust that CGI says "will also provide an opportunity to learn about Tech Girls Rock, a CGI Commitment to Action launched by CA Technologies in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that helps girls discover an interest in tech-related educational opportunities and careers." On the following days, CGI sessions will discuss tech's need for a strong and diverse talent pipeline for computer and information technology jobs, which it says is threatened by "the persistent poor performance of American students in science, technology, engineering, and math," presenting "serious implications for the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. economy." So what's the long-term solution? Expanding CS education, of course!

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SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 5:37am
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Air Force has given private rocket company SpaceX clearance to launch military satellites into orbit. This disrupts the lock that Boeing and Lockheed Martin have had on military launches for almost a decade. SpaceX will get its first opportunity to bid for such launches in June, when the Air Force posts a contract to launch GPS satellites.

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